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Understanding deepfake: The blurred line between reality and artificial intelligence

A lot of deepfakes are with the consent of the individual. Social media campaigns have been made using deepfake.

Have you ever considered how who you are is affecting and thereby creating a bigger reality we live in? It seeps inside, worming into us, explodes outside and hits us right back. “When in today’s world people are fake, then why complain about deepfake? We are so fake. Look at each one of us.” While this I said in zest, in a short video on social media, the reel went viral. I was humouring a deeply worrisome phenomenon.

After all, hardly anyone seems to know what our Vedas purported, that pure intelligence is right inside our brains. Recently when I mentioned this to a Harvard-educated CEO who looked to use hi company’s CSR funds for education, and mental health that my foundation caters to, he was aghast. Deepfakes have existed since 2017, it is easy to use. It needs no level of skill, it is child’s play thanks to Generative Artificial Intelligence, or Gen AI.

Late last year, a deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandanna went viral. She is not the only celeb targeted. Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif and many more have all had their faces pulled in deepfake videos.

Is everybody, whose deepfake is out, a victim? No. A lot of deepfakes are with the consent of the individual. Social media campaigns have been made using deepfake.

What exactly is deepfake? It is customised with the help of AI tools that can create hyper-realistic video and converse like real companions. Recent announcements from OpenAI and Google I/O also prove that AI will soon be able to both see and hear you using an omni-channel approach.

One of the first deepfake videos to get national prominence was of Barack Obama saying “President Trump is a total dip….” It was made by comedian Jordan Peele. So how do you spot a deepfake? When you see some inconsistency in the audio and video, the lip movement, or if the face appears a little wooden, then you know it is fake. How do we tackle this? “Deepfakes are increasingly blurring the lines between reality and fiction... As such, regulations to address this threat are now an urgent necessity,” says Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group at CyberMedia Research.

According to a BBC report, the creation of sexually explicit images of an adult is a criminal offense in England and Wales. While several states in the US have reportedly updated their laws to add deepfakes to existing prohibitions. In India, there are no specific regulations. More updated legislation around the use of AI should be the first step India, while campaigns raising awareness will help.

When managing a Buddhist meditation centre, one of the practices I worked on was ‘Acceptance’. Accept what comes. However hard that be. I tried to follow it to the T. I accepted my smattered body and miracle healing happened. While enjoying the easy technical assistance of AI, mindfulness is a key to wellness.

Anu Aggarwal

Actor, speaker, yogi and author

Instagram: @anusualanu

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